DaimlerChrysler AG will introduce the next generation of Sprinter commercial vans to North America in January 2007, according to Automotive News. The new Sprinter will include a motorhome version.
The updated Sprinter will be unveiled in Europe in February, the trade newspaper said.
For North America, the Dodge Sprinter will continue to be assembled in Freightliner Custom Chassis LLC’s Gaffney, S.C., plant from kits manufactured in Europe. The plant has the capacity to assemble 20,000 units annually. In Europe, the vehicle will be available as the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Volkswagen LT, and produced in Germany.
The current Sprinter, launched in 1995, came to the U.S. in 2000 bearing a Freightliner nameplate. It became available through Dodge in 2003 and the new version will be available only through Dodge dealerships.
The current 154-hp 5-cylinder diesel engine that gets up to 26 miles per gallon will be replaced with a 3.0 liter V-6 powerplant introduced recently in several Mercedes-Benz cars.
For 2005 as many as eight American and Canadian manufacturers built Class B motorhomes on the Sprinter chassis. Winnebago Industries Inc., Forest City, Iowa, introduced the View and Navion Class C motorhomes built on a Sprinter cutaway chassis.
For the upcoming model year Airstream Inc., Jackson Center, Ohio, recently released a more affordable Parkway van camper based on the Sprinter Class B chassis and also is marketing Sprinter-based Interstate and Westphalia van campers based on the Sprinter platform.
In 2003, the most recent year for which figures are available, 9,000 Sprinter vans were imported into the United States for both commerical and recreational use, according to Dodge.